The Mariners evened their spring record to 2-2 with a 5-3 win over the Reds today in Goodyear. There were some boring parts, because it is still spring, but the majority of this game was still good fun if you dig watching prospects. One of the big payoffs of getting into prospects in general is getting to be excited in Spring Training when you get a glimpse of the future of baseball. Today’s game featured many of the Reds’ Top 30 prospects, including Top-100 prospect Jonathan India, 80-grade raw power prospect Ibandel Isabel, bearded and good-natured reliever Tejay Antone, fireballer Vladimir Guttierez, and Seattle native Stuart Fairchild (who had, admittedly, a pretty rough day at the plate, with two Ks, one of which you’ll see later). Onto the fun stuff and the less-fun stuff!
The fun stuff:
Justin Dunn gets revenge:
Dunn got the start against the team against which he made his disastrous major-league debut, when he walked five batters, threw 37 pitches and only 14 strikes, allowed three stolen bases, and couldn’t clear the first inning. Maybe Dunn burned some sage or tucked a piece of rainbow obsidian into his pocket because he banished all those demons today, looking sharp with a 94-96 mph fastball and slider. He started his day by striking out Josh Van Meter—the first batter he faced in his debut, who he walked on four pitches—on a called strike that was 96 on the black. Dunn then disposed of Joey Votto by getting Tenacious Joey V to go down on this swinging strike, the first swing after eleven straight takes by the Reds 1-2 batters:
Justin Dunn hands Joey Votto a shiny new sword: pic.twitter.com/v4wTEWr4kw— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) February 26, 2020
After a 12-pitch 7-strike first inning, Dunn was a little less sharp in his second inning of work, needing 22 pitches (12 strikes) to finish the second. He started the inning by walking new Red Mike Moustakas and later gave up back-to-back hits to Mark Payton and Christian Colon, both sharp grounders down the RF and LF lines, respectively, giving the Reds a 1-0 advantage. He was also helped out by an excellent catch by...
Jake Fraley shows off some defense:
I don’t know what it is about playing the Cubs—or maybe it’s playing in left field—but Fraley had a rough time in the outfield in the Mariners’ second ST game. It was good to see him, then, patrolling center and catching everything that came his way, even though he seemed to struggle at times with Arizona’s high sky. Won’t be a problem in Seattle, Jake, we promise. He made this nice catch on a sinking liner which preemptively bailed Dunn out from some potential trouble in the second:
Fraley also covered some ground to catch the final out of the inning and keep the damage at a run. He also had a single off starter Sonny Gray, who looked very sharp in his spring debut.
Tim Tim Lopes Lopes, the Doubles Man:
Tim Lopes is off to a scorching-hot start this spring. After he replaced Evan White in the third (Patrick Wisdom slid over to first for White and Lopes took over at third, then moved over to second when Connor Hoover entered the game in the 7th), Lopes added two more doubles to the two he’s already hit, one a deep gapper and the other one into the RF corner that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double and denied him an RBI.
Lopes also made a tough pick on a ball that could have easily rolled down the LF line for another double, and although it was a tough throw, it was on-target, but Patrick Wisdom couldn’t handle it at first. To Lopes’s credit, this is where the ball was fielded:
Tim Lopes looked at the utility player depth chart pre-season and said “nah” and turbo-boosted his jeep to climb to the top of Fringe Mountain and I am very here for it.
Dirty Bit (of changeups):
The Mariners have been quietly collecting relievers with plus changeups for the past season or so, and that was on full display this afternoon from two very opposite sides of the spectrum, last year’s Rule 5 pick Brandon Brennan and 2018 UDFA signing Devin Sweet:
Sweet spent most of last year in West Virginia, studying with pitching coach/changeups master Alon Leichman, but he should be a quick mover if these pitches are any indication:
Devin Sweet closes out the game with a 1-2-3 inning including a K. We are high on Sweet, a Gas Camp participant this off-season, because of his dastardly changeup. Fun fact: Sweet was headed off to Virginia Tech to do a grad program in engineering before the Mariners signed him. pic.twitter.com/fiFV4b14MI— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) February 26, 2020
The less-fun stuff:
- I am sorry to these men (Yoshihisa Hirano and Wei-Yin Chen), but it is the year of the youth movement, and I confess to being very uninterested in watching them pitch. Hirano’s pre-pitch ritual is by far the most interesting thing about him:
- Growing pains, both literally and figuratively for Julio Rodriguez today, who went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and was hit on the hand by a Sonny Gray pitch. Please stop hitting Julio, everyone.
- The Mariners struck out 11 times, which seems less than ideal, while only collecting four walks. It’s early yet, but it feels like the Mariners are striking out...a lot.
The mixed bag stuff:
The Mariners were obviously working on stealing bases today, with, uh, mixed results. Jose Siri and Patrick Wisdom both stole successfully, Braden Bishop got picked off stealing and picked off of first, and Dylan Moore successfully stole a base but got kicked in the head doing so and wound up leaving the game. Tim Lopes’s jeep creeps ever closer to the apex of Fringe Mountain.